Carriageworks director, Lisa Havilah welcomed the crowd into the “heart of Carriageworks, in the heart of Redfern” to hear the highlights of the 2014 program at the Tuesday night launch, catered by [Eveleigh Market favourite Kylie Kwong.

A raft of Sydney Festival shows promises a strong start to the year. Returning in 2014 is About an Hour, a frenetic long weekend of over 35 performances, including The Piper, an immersive interpretation of the folklore tale The Pied Piper of Hamelin, inspired by poet Ted Hughes’s stories for children that aims to appeal to audiences young and old.

Receiving top billing at Sydney Festival is Chance, an installation by French practitioner Christian Boltanski, and the first work by the artist to be exhibited in Australia. Another SF show is The Serpent’s Table, a confluence of food, storytelling and culture told by five Asian-Australians, including Pauline Nguyen (Red Lantern) and Adam Liaw (Destination Flavour).

In a nod to its Redfern location, the theatre has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the indigenous arts community in 2014. As well as staging Malthouse Theatre’s The Shadow King, a reworking of Shakespeare’s King Lear from an indigenous perspective, Havilah announced the launch of Park St Studio: Artist in Residence, a partnership with Alexandria Park Community School and the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence that aims to improve arts education in the local area.

March sees the debut of Ganesh Versus the Third Reich, an internationally acclaimed production by Back to Back Theatre that follows the quest of the Hindu god Ganesh to reclaim the swastika from Hitler in Nazi Germany, while in April, Carriageworks will host the first ever exhibition by flamboyant Sydney fashion designers Romance Was Born, scheduled to coincide with Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, which returns to Eveleigh after a successful debut at the site in 2013.

Also on the agenda in 2014 is a strong focus on Carriageworks’ relationships with Sydney’s major arts organisations. The arts space is set to be a major venue partner of the 19th Biennale of Sydney: You Imagine What You Desire; while New Breed, a new partnership with Sydney Dance Company, will present four new works by up and coming Sydney choreographers.

Kylie Kwong, whose crisp wontons and steamed dumplings fed the masses at the program launch, was announced as an ambassador for Carriageworks in 2014. Also new for 2014 is Rootstock Sydney, a sustainable and artisan food and wine festival scheduled for February.

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